Chicago Fire striker Patrick Nyarko will join teammate Dominic Oduro in hoping to make his debut for the Ghanaian national team after being called as a late addition to the Black Stars squad that will take on Chile Wednesday night at PPL Park in Chester, Penn.
The emergency call comes for Nyarko as strikers Emmanuel Baffoe and Richard Mpong had trouble securing visas for the trip and Olympique Marseille’s Jordan Ayew pulling out of the squad, leaving head coach Goran Stefanovic with only Oduro up top.
“It’s a last minute thing,” Nyarko said from the Fire’s preseason base in Charleston, S.C. Monday night. “I really wasn’t expecting it but it came and its really exciting. Anytime you get called into your national camp it’s an amazing feeling. I’m just taking it all in right now and hopefully I can get on the field Wednesday and help my country win against Chile.”
The Ghanaian duo were paired up top for the first time in preseason Saturday night, causing most of the dangerous efforts Nyarko earned a fourth minute penalty kick before being subbed off as an injury precaution in the 31st minute, while Oduro hit the cross bar in the 58th minute of a 1-0 loss to D.C. United.
Like Oduro, the domestic friendly match gives Nyarko the chance he’s long been waiting for with the national side as the Ghanaian federation has kept tabs on the five-year Fire veteran dating back to 2009.
Recently Nyarko was quoted as saying he’d be interested in a call-up for the United States, though with a bit of time to wait for American citizenship, the speedy forward says he’s living in the moment with his international future.
“The chance of playing for the U.S. is something I just said at the time. It was me answering a hypothetical question of ‘if the chance presents itself’. Right now the opportunity has come with Ghana and that’s all there is to it.”
As for the Fire, the team will be definitely be down in numbers for Wednesday night’s preseason game. Along with the Ghanaian pair unavailable for selection, the team is also missing goalkeeper Sean Johnson (U.S. U-23), midfielders Marco Pappa (Guatemala) and Victor Pineda (U.S. U-20) and forward Orr Barouch (Israel U-21) to international duty.
With the number of international absences midweek, the team announced Monday it had canceled a previously scheduled reserve match vs. Coastal Carolina University set for Thursday night.
All six players are expected to re-join the side ahead of Saturday’s Carolina Challenge Cup finale vs. the Charleston Battery.